Economic summit billed as educational event

Robin Brown
Robin Brown
Jonathan Liebert
Jonathan Liebert

Phil Castle, The Business Times

An upcoming event in Grand Junction will offer information about commercial real estate, work force development and a variety of other topics affecting business and economic conditions in the region.

The keynote presentation will address the power of social impact to grow businesses while improving communities.

The Grand Junction Economic Partnership has scheduled its Western Colorado Economic Summit for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. June 6 in the University Center at Colorado Mesa University.

Admission is $75 for the full summit and $50 for the luncheon and keynote presentation by Jonathan Liebert, chief executive officer and executive director of the Colorado Institute for Social Impact and Better Business Bureau of Western Colorado. To register or obtain more information, call 245-4332 or log on to the website at

Robin Brown, executive director of GJEP, expects more than 350 people to attend what she billed as an educational event offering information about local trends and opportunities as well as ongoing challenges. The goal, Brown said, is to help participants make better decisions. “The more people are informed about the community, the more engaged they are in the community.”

The summit will begin with a presentation by Elizabeth Garner, state demographer and economist with the Colorado Department of Local Affairs. Garner will cover labor, population and other variables affecting the state and local economies.

Fred Schmidt, president and chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Commercial Worldwide, will talk about the commercial real estate market and trends affecting the economy.

Morning breakout sessions will cover long-term plans for improving Mesa County School District 51; riverfront development in Grand Junction, including a new business park; work force development; social innovation; the ramifications of a proposed increase in the Grand Junction lodging tax; and attracting talent to the local health care industry.

The luncheon will include a presentation by Brown reviewing GJEP activities and a presentation of annual awards to an individual and business that have supported local economic development efforts.

The summit will conclude with a keynote presentation by Liebert on social impact and the intersection of efforts by for-profit businesses and nonprofit organizations.

While a growing number of businesses have found success in incorporating social missions into their operations, Brown said the Grand Valley has a long tradition of businesses supporting the nonprofit sector and collaborative approaches to solving problems. Additional challenges persist, however, that will require ongoing efforts to address, she said.